This easy sourdough French toast recipe is a simple way to elevate classic French toast. It's a great way to use up leftover sourdough bread, but it's so delicious that you'll want to bake (or buy) extra loaves just to make this recipe again and again!
Get ready to fall in love with Sourdough French Toast! Whether you've been on a sourdough bread baking kick and are looking for delicious ways to use your homemade loaves or simply enjoy the tangy taste of sourdough, this recipe makes a delightfully easy French toast that tastes incredible.
Why This Recipe Works
While softer breads like brioche and challah are the most common choices for French toast, their soft texture and richness can sometimes lead to a French toast that's overly sweet or slightly mushy. Conversely, the slight tanginess of sourdough bread provides a delicious contrast to the sweetness of French toast, and the crisp texture of the crust makes it less likely you'll end up with mushy French toast.
I carefully tested this recipe - using fresh and days old bread, considering how thick to slice the bread, and experimenting with how long to soak the slices before cooking - to create a sourdough French toast recipe that's truly exceptional.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Sourdough Bread - A sourdough loaf or boule, either homemade or from the bakery, works perfectly in this recipe. Its crusty exterior and soft interior - along with its tangy flavor - are ideal for making French toast that's not too sweet and not too soft or soggy. Avoid sourdough sandwich bread, which will absorb the batter too readily and become soggy.
Eggs - Eggs thicken the batter that coats the sourdough slices. Three eggs proved to be just the right amount for this recipe (see "FAQs" below for more info about the ratio of eggs to milk).
Whole Milk - Milk is key to the batter and will be absorbed into the bread (along with the eggs and flavorings) before it's cooked. Cream can be used in place of milk, but know that it will make a much more rich and dense French toast. Stay away from low fat milks, which aren't substantial enough for the batter.
Brown Sugar - Brown sugar adds a hint of sweetness to the batter which helps to balance - not overpower - the sourdough bread, still letting its tangy flavor shine through.
Cinnamon and Nutmeg - Adding a tiny bit of nutmeg creates a more complex spice flavor compared to cinnamon on its own, but you can skip the nutmeg if you prefer.
See recipe card at the bottom of this post for full ingredient list and measurements.
In addition to essential baking equipment (like a whisk), I recommend some special tools for making this recipe.
- A large, flat dish (like a casserole dish) for soaking the bread.
- A large skillet for cooking the French toast. I recommend cast iron because I love the way it conducts heat evenly and browns the bread, but it isn't necessary to use cast iron.
Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions
Step 1: Mix the batter. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Step 2: Add the batter to a large, shallow dish. Place slices of bread into the batter and soak for 2-3 minutes. While the bread soaks, heat the skillet over medium low heat.
Step 3: Flip the bread slices, letting the other side soak for 2-3 minutes.
Step 4: Add a little bit of butter to the skillet followed by soaked bread slices. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for 3-4 minutes.
Be sure to beat the batter very well before adding to the casserole dish and coating bread. Otherwise bits of egg mixture will cook as a thin omelet on outside of bread.
If you want to serve multiple servings at once, preheat the oven to 200°F and place a baking sheet on the middle rack. As you cook slices, transfer them to the baking sheet in the warm oven. Then when finished cooking, serve all of the slices together.
I've found that 3 eggs per 1 cup of milk is the ideal ratio of eggs to milk when making French toast. This would yield enough batter to soak about 8 slices of bread. Batter made with just 2 eggs per cup of milk will be very liquidy and make the bread a bit mushy. Conversely, batter made with 4 eggs per cup of milk is overly eggy and creates a dense French toast. Three eggs per cup of milk is the perfect middle ground.
The simplest way to make sure that French toast does not become soggy in the middle is to be careful how long you soak the bread in the batter before frying. While you need to allow the bread time to absorb the batter, if you leave it to soak for too long it will become soggy. Also consider the ratio of eggs to milk in the recipe you're using. Eggs help to thicken the batter, so a recipe using a ratio of just one or two eggs per cup of milk is more likely to create a soggy French toast.
The bread needs enough time to absorb the batter, but not so much time that it becomes overly wet or soggy. The amount of time to soak the bread will vary by the type of bread and the thickness of your slices. For thick slices of sourdough bread I found 2-3 minutes per side to be perfect. For a softer bread like brioche, and even shorter soak time will do (about 1 minute).
Refrigerator: Leftover French toast that's completely cooled can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in the toaster oven before serving.
Freezing: French toast can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for 2-3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating in the toaster oven and serving.
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Sourdough French Toast
- Large, flat dish (like a casserole dish)
- Large skillet (I recommend cast iron.)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 8 slices sourdough bread, cut ¾ inch thick
- unsalted butter
- maple syrup, for serving
- Mix the batter. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine, ensuring there are not unmixed bits of egg.
- Add the batter to a large, shallow dish. Place slices of bread into the batter and soak for 2-3 minutes. While the bread soaks, heat the skillet over medium low heat.
- Flip the bread slices, letting the other side soak for 2-3 minutes.
- Add a little bit of butter to the skillet followed by soaked bread slices. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for 3-4 minutes. Both sides of the bread should be golden brown, and you can adjust the heat and/or the cook time to suit your preferences.
- Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.